TIDAL (tī'dăl, Heb. tidh‘āl). An unidentified king, mentioned only in Gen.14.1, Gen.14.9 where he is called “king of Goiim” (“nations,” kjv) and is allied with three other kings, with Kedorlaomer king of Elam as the leader (Gen.14.5, Gen.14.17). Invading westward, they defeated the kings of the cities of the plain and took plunder and captives, including Lot. Abraham routed the coalition in a night raid, rescued the captives, and recovered the goods (Gen.14.15-Gen.14.16).

TIDAL tī’ dəl (תִדְעָ֖ל), mentioned only in Genesis 14: as “king of Goiim,” usually rendered “king of nations.” This would imply either the ruler of a confederacy of nations, or it might be an honorific title corresponding to the expression common in Akkad. annals, “King of the Four Corners of the Earth.” Some identify Goiim with Gutium in Mesopotamia. Mari texts use the word ga’um for a group, or a gang. This might suggest that Tidal ruled a nomadic tribe with no fixed boundaries.

The name Tidal corresponds with Tudhalias I, a Hitt. ruler who prob. was successor to Anittas. The identification is uncertain, but the name could not have been improvised by a Heb. writer.

Tidal was a confederate of Chedorlaomer in an attack on the Trans-jordan area during which Lot, Abraham’s nephew, was captured (Gen 14:1, 9).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(tidh`al; Thalga, Thalgal, Codex E, Thargal):

1. The Name and Its Forms:

Tidal is mentioned in Ge 14:1,9 in the account of the expedition of Chedorlaomer of Elam, with his allies, Amraphel of Shinar (Babylonia), Arioch of Ellasar, and Tidal, who is called "king of nations" (the King James Version) (goyim, Targum `ammin). Whether the last-named took part in this expedition as one of Chedorlaomer’s vassals or not is unknown. The Greek form possibly prints to an earlier pronunciation Tadgal.

2. Its Babylonian Equivalent:

The only name in the cuneiform inscriptions resembling Tidal is Tudhula, or, as it was probably later pronounced, Tudhul. This, from its form, might be Sumerian, meaning "evil progeny," or the like. In addition to the improbability of a name with such a signification, however, his title "king of goyim," or "nations," in Ge 14:1, presupposes a ruler of another race.

3. The Babylonian Tudhula and His Time:

The inscription in which the name Tudhula occurs is one of three of late date (4th to 3rd century BC), all referring, apparently, to the same historical period. The text in question (Sp. iii.2) is of unbaked clay, and is broken and defaced. After referring to a ruler who did not maintain the temples, Durmah-ilani son of Eri-Aku (Arioch) is referred to, appatently as one who ravaged the country, and "waters (came) over Babylon and E-sagila," its great temple. The words which follow suggest that Durmah-ilani was slain by his son, after which a new invader appeared, who would seem to have been Tudhula, son of Gazza(ni?). He likewise ravaged the land, and floods again invaded Babylon and E-sagila. To all appearance he met with the fate which overtook Durmah-ilani--death at the hands of his son, who "smote his head." Then came the Elamite, apparently Chedorlaomer, who was likewise slain. This inscription, therefore, gave historical quotations of the fate which overtook those who were regarded as enemas of the gods.

4. Doubts as to His Identity:

Though we have here the long-sought name of Tidal, it may legitimately be doubted whether this personage was the ruler of that name mentioned in Ge 14. The "nations" (goyim) which he ruled are regarded by Sayce as having been wandering hordes (umman manda), probably Medes. On the other hand, the occurrence of the name Dudhalia, son of Hattusil (Khetasir), contemporary of Rameses II, in the inscriptions found at Hattu, the capital of the Hittites, suggests that that extensive confederation may have been the "nations" referred to. In other words, Tidal or Tudhula (for Dudhalia) was an earlier ruler bearing the same name as Hattusil’s son.

5. Probably a Hittite:

If he be, as is possible, the same personage as is mentioned in Ge 14, he must have fought against Arioch’s son, conquered his domains and been killed, in his turn, by either the Biblical Chedorlaomer or another Elamite ruler beaming the same or a similar name. See Amraphel; Arioch; CHEDORLAOMER; ERI-AKU; NATIONS.